As it rolled out its revamped Windows Live Hotmail this week, Microsoft also promised it would deliver replacements for the Outlook Express and Windows Mail desktop clients along with new software to integrate web mail with the corporate Outlook program.
Windows Live Mail will replace Outlook Express on Windows XP and Windows Mail on Vista in "the coming weeks," says Microsoft. The program, which will handle POP, IMAP and Windows Live Hotmail accounts, was characterised as a faster, more robust version of Windows Live Mail desktop beta, which has been in testing for Windows XP. The beta will be retired.
According to a Windows Live Mail blog, the new client will sport features from Outlook Express, Windows Mail and the Windows Live Mail desktop beta. A redesigned interface supports Vista's Aero look and feel — the first Windows Live offering to do so — and the program adds S/MIME and LDAP support. It will be advertisement-free.
Also due in the next few weeks, says Microsoft, is an updated Outlook Connector, software that synchronises messages, address books, tasks and calendars between Windows Live Hotmail and Outlook 2003 and Outlook 2007. An earlier edition of the Connector was launched by Microsoft last November.
Swapping in the Windows Live Mail client for Vista's Windows Mail might surprise Vista users, since the operating system has been out less than four months.